Of­fi­cials clash over ac­cu­sa­tions of pay-to-play pol­i­tics

Springfield Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Eric Devlin ede­vlin@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Eric_de­vlin on Twit­ter

NORRISTOWN » Mont­gomery County Com­mis­sion­ers Joe Gale and Val Arkoosh sparred at a re­cent meet­ing af­ter Gale ac­cused Arkoosh of con­tin­u­ing a tra­di­tion of “pay-to-play pol­i­tics” in Mont­gomery County by cater­ing real es­tate de­ci­sions to ben­e­fit her cam­paign donors.

Arkoosh, the board’s chair­woman and a Demo­crat, cat­e­gor­i­cally de­nied the al­le­ga­tion, say­ing Gale, the only Repub­li­can on the three-mem­ber gov­ern­ing body, doesn’t have any ev­i­dence to sup­port his ac­cu­sa­tions and doesn’t un­der­stand the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process.

“He has no ev­i­dence be­cause there is no ev­i­dence,” Arkoosh said. “All of my cam­paign fi­nance re­ports are pub­lic as is the case for any of us. They’re re­quired to be pub­lic. You can look at all of my con­tri­bu­tions.”

Rede­vel­op­ment and in­vest­ment

The tense exchange played out be­fore and af­ter a 2-1 de­ci­sion (which Gale voted against) at the June 15 meet­ing to ap­prove a Lo­cal Eco­nomic Re­vi­tal­iza­tion Tax As­sis­tance ap­pli­ca­tion to ELON De­vel­op­ment Co. for the 50-unit Mont­gomery Park Se­nior Hous­ing com­plex at 1301 Pow­ell St., Norristown, lo­cated on the for­mer Mont­gomery Hos­pi­tal site.

The four story, 42,000-square­foot, $14.5 mil­lion project is a col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Ein­stein Health Net­work. The fa­cil­ity will house 50 af­ford­able one-bed­room units for se­niors ages 62 and older and will be the first phase of re­de­vel­op­ing the for­mer hos­pi­tal’s site, which has al­ready been sub­di­vided.

LERTAS are awarded to pro­mote rede­vel­op­ment and in­vest­ment in de­te­ri­o­rated prop­er­ties. The de­vel­oper must show im­prove­ment to the prop­erty that would trig­ger a prop­erty re­assess­ment, ac­cord­ing

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